Mike Brown Right to Question Mike D'Antoni's System for Los Angeles Lakers
During an interview with Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio, former Los Angeles Lakers head coach Mike Brown stated that he believes the Lakers will turn their season around. With that being said, Brown also offered skepticism in reference to their current system.
Plain and simple, Brown is right to question Mike D'Antoni's style of coaching the Lakers.
Brown was infamously fired after starting 1-4 with the L.A. super team. The Lakers proceeded to hire D'Antoni, which caused many to question whether or not his up-tempo system would work in L.A.
Brown is a member of the majority who still questions this match.
"I did not feel that was a running team," said Brown, who was fired in November after a 1-4 start to the season. "Kobe [Bryant] is a guy who can run, but if you look back at the history of his career, he really hasn''t been on a running team, in his 15, 16, 20 years -- whatever he's been in the league.
"Then you talk about having two bigs," Brown said of [Dwight] Howard and Pau Gasol. "And both of those bigs are agile and capable runners, but they're not the type of runners that you need to have to play in a system that's going to score those types of points."
Love D'Antoni or hate him, Brown has a point about his approach.
D'Antoni has two elite interior players in Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard. For that reason, one would imagine a coach would want to slow the game down and pound it inside.
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Improper Use of the Interior Presence
With Dwight Howard on the roster, the Los Angeles Lakers are in position to run an elite pick-and-roll offense. Prior to Pau Gasol's injury, they also had an elite back-to-the-basket player who can both score and facilitate.
Within coach Mike D'Antoni's system, both players are brought out of their comfort zone.
Howard should be running the pick-and-roll, but he has been the Lakers' go-to back-to-the-basket player. This has resulted in Gasol playing primarily as a jump shooter, thus creating additional run on his weak and aging knees and feet.
A questionable decision, at best.
Furthermore, such a system has forced the Lakers to become a team reliant upon the three-point shot. Rather than embracing a championship-caliber advantage, L.A. has become a jump shooting team.
This has done nothing but create failure—L.A. ranks 24th in three-point field goal attempts per game and just 13th in three-point field goal percentage.
This is not to say that Mike Brown's Princeton offense would have worked better in the long-run, but instead to acknowledge a lost truth. Brown would have created a system in which the tax on veteran legs would have been minimized.
Considering Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Gasol, Metta World Peace and Antawn Jamison all 32 or older, that certainly seems more ideal than attempting to out-run younger and more athletic opponents.
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When the Los Angeles Lakers created their super-team, many expected their greatest strength to be on the defensive end of the floor. Unfortunately, their up-tempo offense has created openings for younger opponents to exploit their transition defense.
Or lack thereof.
Thus far in 2012-13, the Lakers rank dead last in opponent fast break points per game. Point and case.
This is a major reason that L.A. is just 23rd in opponent points per game. It's also a factor in the Lakers allowing opponents to shoot 45.1 percent from the floor.
If the Lakers were to slow things down and capitalize on their interior advantage, they would place a ceiling on the transition points they let up. This would force teams to collapse their defense as L.A.'s perimeter group drops back into transition.
Unfortunately, that opportunity may have been lost with Pau Gasol's recent injury.
Even still, former coach Mike Brown is spot-on with his evaluation. The Lakers are an older team with a glaring advantage over every other team in the NBA—the ability to slow it down and dominate via their interior.
By not capitalizing on such, D'Antoni has done nothing but create the current season of failure. Gasol's injury may have ended any chance at making it right.
The pressure's on.
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